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Israeli forces detain 15 more Palestinians for involvement in Al-Aqsa protests

Aug. 3, 2017 2:48 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 4, 2017 11:02 A.M.)
Palestinians led a two-week mass civil disobedience campaign where thousands of Palestinians prayed on the streets of Jerusalem in protest of Israeli Al-Aqsa policies (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained 15 Palestinians in several neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem during overnight raids between Wednesday and Thursday, as Israeli forces continued to crack down on Palestinians in the wake of large-scale protests over Israeli restrictions at Al-Aqsa Mosque, bringing the number of Palestinians detained this week over Al-Aqsa protests to almost 50.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the detentions were carried out in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi al-Joz, Silwan, Ras al-Amoud, al-Tur, Beit Hanina, and in the Old City.

On Monday, Israeli forces had also rounded up 33 Palestinians in East Jerusalem and detained them for their alleged participation in the two weeks of unrest that broke out after Israel installed metal detectors and surveillance cameras at Al-Aqsa, which was followed by a temporary ban on Palestinian men under the age of 50 from entering the holy site.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri confirmed the detentions, and said that the Palestinians were detained over “violence and disturbing the order in Jerusalem,” which she said included rock-throwing, and blocking and closing roads -- which was done during each Muslim prayer during the protests, as thousands of Palestinian performed prayers on the streets of Jerusalem in an act of mass civil disobedience against Israeli policies.

She added that some were also detained for setting fire to trash cans and throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at Israeli forces during clashes.

These actions “put the lives of others at risk and caused injuries to a number of police officers,” al-Samri added. Meanwhile, during the protests, six Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted between unarmed protesters and Israeli police. One of the six was killed by an armed Israeli settler.

Al-Samri said that the 15 detainees were transferred for interrogations with Israeli authorities. She added that their detentions would also be extended at a later date in order to ensure the “completion of interrogations.”

Meanwhile, al-Samri noted that Israeli authorities had also extended the detentions of 31 of the 33 Palestinians detained during raids on Monday for their activities during the Al-Aqsa unrest. She added that charges were officially brought against nine of the detainees, while Israel’s public prosecution was in the process of filing charges against 19 of the detainees.

Wafa reported that local Palestinians in East Jerusalem had said that Israeli police were “terrorizing inhabitants and frightening children as they forcefully and violently dragged their victims from their beds and threw them into police vans while ransacking their family homes.”

The unidentified Palestinians reportedly told Wafa that the majority of those detained by Israeli forces on Wednesday and Thursday were teenagers and minors.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 95 search and detention raids carried out over the course of 2016, according to UN documentation.

Prisoners' rights group Addameer estimated that 6,128 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of July, including 480 residents of East Jerusalem.
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